Supreme Court on 3 December 2014 set up a Social Justice Bench to exclusively hear cases related to women, children and underprivileged. The apex court set up the special bench in lieu of the specialized approach needed for dealing with such social issues.
The newly constituted two-judge SC bench will be headed by Justice Madan B Lokur and comprises of Justice U U Lalit as member. The bench will assemble every Friday at 2 PM from 12 December 2014 onwards.
The Social Justice Bench is a brainchild of Chief Justice of India H L Dattu to ensure early disposal of the pending cases related to social justice so that the masses will realize the fruits of the rights provided to them by the Constitution.
The new bench will take up not only pending matters but also new ones in order to secure social justice as enshrined in the Preamble of Constitution of India.
Type of issues that will be heard by the Social Justice Bench include
• Issues related to the release of food grains lying in stock for use in drought-affected areas, framing of a fresh scheme for their public distribution
• Taking of steps to prevent the untimely death of women and children for want of nutritious food, hygienic mid-day meals in schools, clean drinking water, provision of safety and secured living conditions for women forced into prostitution
• Issues related to children to provide night shelter to destitute and homeless
• To provide medical facilities to all the citizens irrespective of their economic condition
In past, the Supreme Court has often set up dedicated benches; however, these were primarily set up to deal with economic issues like tax issues. The apex court has also set up dedicated bench to deal with environmental cases which was earlier called Forest Bench but was later renamed the Green Bench.
Similarly, the lower judiciary has courts dedicated to crimes against children and offences like sexual assault.
Who: Social Justice Bench
When: 3 December 2014